Hello My Sister: Depression is Real
“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life; it is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.” Stephan Hoeller
I recently attended a meeting with my beautiful sisters. We were dressed in business attire, looking professional and ready to conquer the world. We discussed community service, being role models and upcoming events. Anyone looking in would believe that we were cool, classy and confident. We spoke and definitely looked the part; no one would even imagine that several of these women had experienced the dreaded “D” word…Depression. Really, black women are not depressed, we are superwomen. Like TIMEX, we take a licking and keep on ticking. Depression is what other people experience; depression is not real in the black culture/tradition. This is not up for discussion. Suck it up and drive on everyone gets hurt or feel sad, we have no time for this nonsense…to feel sorry for ourselves, we have things to do and with the help of God we will feel better. That is what we are taught and that is what a majority of us still believe. So what is depression?
According to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, “depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer. Depression can change or distort the way you see yourself, your life, and those around you. People who have depression usually see everything with a more negative attitude. They cannot imagine that any problem or situation can be solved in a positive way. Symptoms of depression can include:
- Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
- Becoming withdrawn or isolated
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Trouble sleeping or too much sleeping
Depression can appear as anger and discouragement, rather than feelings of sadness. Depression can be treated with medication or counseling or a combination of both (depending on how severe the depression actually is).” Thus, depression is real. Do black women experience depression? The answer is Yes.
At the end of our meeting, a well put together, petite, pretty lady with beautiful eyes, stood up and courageously told us that she had been depressed for over a period of a year. She stated that at first she did not know that she was depressed, but she was having problems getting out of bed, did not want to do anything and felt alone. When she realized that she was depressed, she did not want to get help…”Black women don’t get depressed” was her thought. She eventually sought help and attended counseling (which in fact saved her life). Her experience caused several women to come forward and share their stories. These women realized that they were not alone and that they had [another] support group of sisters who they could depend on, women who understood and who would not judge. Truth be told, I am one of those women I understand what it is like to be depressed and to overcome it. I understand that while I am a superwoman, I must first take care of myself in order to help others. I recognize the symptoms and know how to ask for help or recommend help to others (in a loving/supporting way). Depression is just like a cold, cancer or any other ailment. If left untreated it may lead to death. I am my sister’s keeper. I refuse to be silent and allow the myth to continue. Depression happens. We as a people must learn about, face it and not run away from it. Hello my sister depression is real. Let’s face this problem together.
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